Issues surrounding reproductive rights and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS, are being tackled by a United Nations body dealing with population and development matters, which opened its latest session today at UN Headquarters in New York.
The 35th session of the Commission on Population and Development will also deliberate on the follow-up actions to the recommendations of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo.
In his opening remarks, Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stressed the link between the agendas of the Commission and other UN bodies. The start next Monday in Madrid of the Second World Assembly on Ageing, for instance, shows that the work of the Commission for Social Development, which had generally handled the questions relating to the ageing of the world population, was connected to that of the Commission on Population and Development as the demographic, social and economic dimensions of the issue were coming together.
Another prominent issue of the current session was how to handle the ICPD review process, considering the high degree of overlap with various other processes dealing with social, environmental and human rights issues, Mr. Desai said. While the Millennium Declaration was an overarching framework for the international community's work, a single, coherent framework was needed for monitoring implementation of the goals set by major international conferences, including the Copenhagen meeting on social development and the special session on HIV/AIDS.
For her part, Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said the cost of funding contraceptives for family planning and condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS would double in the next 15 years. Despite that growing need, she said, donor support for contraceptives was at its lowest level in five years; UNFPA was facing a serious financial situation, as a shortage of $50 million was projected for 2002, and the ICPD financial targets were far from being met.
More resources were urgently needed if the goals were to be achieved, the Executive Director stressed, adding that she hoped the recent conference on financing for development in Monterrey, Mexico, would result in greater funding for reproductive health, which was so crucial to women, families and sustainable development.